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Thai PM says to focus efforts on development, justice in S Thailand

Written By vibykhmer on Sunday, August 23, 2009 | 5:13 AM

BANGKOK, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Sunday that his government has restructured the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) with the objective to make it more efficient in order to end the ongoing violence in Thailand's restive deep South.

Speaking during his weekly TV and radio address, Abhisit said he was optimistic that situation in the deep South would improve after completion of the restructuring of the SBPAC plan, approved by the Cabinet last week.

Under Cabinet approval, the position of director of SBPAC will be equivalent to permanent secretary of ministry and report directly to the prime minister, he said.

Most importantly, the role of SBPAC will focus on development and offering justice to the residents of the troubled region instead of suppressing the insurgency as in the past, said Abhisit.

In solving problems, representatives of the people will be allowed to participate in meetings while a so-called 'People Council' will be set up to oversee whether government officials have abused their power. Officials found to have abused power will be punished, he said.

In another development, early Sunday morning, unidentified gunmen on two pick-up trucks sprayed bullets into a security checkpoint in Thailand's southern border province of Narathiwat early Sunday morning, killing two soldiers and injuring two other soldiers and a policeman.

Police believed the southern separatist militants were behind the attack.

Thailand's deep South, which includes mainly the three southernmost provinces, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, as well as some parts of Songkla province, has undergone violence by suspected separatists for years, during which more than 3,000 people have been killed since 2004.

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